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Food systems: the role and challenges of carbon pricing

Carbon Credit Markets / Blog / @carbonblog updated its global internet audience: 221 countries, all continents! Amazing. This article honours the responsibility, with a special thank You.

Water and food. Two essential elements that - together with carbon - have been nurturing live on Earth.

Today we will talk about food. And carbon pricing. Elaborating on a recent Working Paper from OECD "The role of carbon pricing in transforming pathways to reach net zero emissions: Insights from current experiences and potential application to food systems". 70 pages of text (+35 of references).

We hear a lot about food crisis across the Globe. Some arable regions drying up, others as new potential (Canada & Russia). For centuries, agriculture has been a very "local" human activity. In spite of economic blocs and unions. Maybe that is one of the reasons for such paper. Or for European Union's CBAM not apply to food (initially only fertilizers).

"The paper ... analyses the current and potential application of ... emissions trading schemes or carbon taxes in food systems ... Applying emissions pricing in food systems faces significant short-term technical, methodological, and political barriers ..."

From the Executive Summary:

  • Low carbon pricing levels still impair its potential role in pathways to net zero (most schemes still have carbon prices below EUR 50/tCO2)

  • Pathways need to be carefully designed and take just transition aspects into account

  • For a just transition, supply- and demand-side should be simultaneously and comprehensively addressed in policy packages

  • Decarbonising food systems is far from straightforward, despite significant potential

Worth refering to these report items:

  • Figure 5.3. Variations in GHG emissions, between and within different food products

  • Table 5.1. Selected overview of emissions pricing currently applied at different stages of food systems

  • Table 5.2. Overview of selected studies modelling emissions pricing at the production stage in food systems

  • Figure 5.6. A large number of sectors contribute to total food system emissions

Click at the image below to access this interesting paper.

To finalize, two more quotes from the report:

  • Direct and indirect emissions from food systems ... around one-third of global GHG emissions

  • ... around 29.3% of the global population (2.3 billion) were moderately or severely food insecure, and almost 10% suffered from hunger (702-828 million)

Disclaimer: OECD Working Papers should not be reported as representing the official views of the OECD or its member countries. The opinions expressed and arguments employed are those of the authors.


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“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”

“I am among those who think that science has great beauty”

Madame Marie Curie (1867 - 1934) Chemist & physicist. French, born Polish.

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